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» November 9, 2005 «
As trade ministers continue to meet in Geneva today (Wednesday), in preparation for full-scale talks in Hong Kong next month, California farmers hope for eventual agreements that allow them freer access to international markets. Reports indicate the world trade talks have bogged down, particularly on agricultural issues. A California Farm Bureau spokeswoman says American farmers want other nations to reduce barriers that slow international farm trade.
The growth of Western-style supermarkets and restaurants in China may heighten demand for California-made cheese. Members of a Chinese delegation visiting California this week said consumers there are developing a taste for cheese. Much of the cheese consumed in China must be imported. That gives California cheese producers an advantage, because cheese from the Golden State may be sent via ship directly to China.
It's planting season for California's winter wheat crop. Farmers have started planting wheat in the Sacramento Valley, and they'll soon be followed by farmers in the San Joaquin Valley and then in Southern California. Harvest is just the opposite, with Southern California growers reaping their grain first, and Sacramento Valley growers last. The California Wheat Commission says it expects acreage to be slightly less than last year. That's due to low prices and other factors.
Corn acreage in California has been declining. That's the finding of a just-completed study by the California Grain Foundation and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. California farmers have never produced enough corn to satisfy demand, so dairies and other large corn consumers often buy Midwestern corn that is shipped by rail. California corn growers hope new ethanol plants will provide them an additional market.Top